The UNC volleyball team appears to be finding its rhythm after four straight losses to open its 2017 campaign.
A win over LIU-Brooklyn on Friday kicked things off, but the Tar Heels made a real statement on Sunday by earning a 3-1 victory over the previously undefeated LSU Tigers (23-25, 25-21, 25-20, 27-25).
Redshirt junior Taylor Leath put forth one of the best individual efforts in school history–racking up a career-high 27 kills to go with 12 digs–as she led the Tar Heels (2-4) to the upset victory.
“The first couple of weeks we all struggled, but I think it’s very satisfying for her knowing she can be that go-to player, and her play inspired others,” head coach Joe Sagula said, of Leath. “In the locker room, she was very determined, and I think that inspired the people around her.”
Senior Beth Nordhorn also posted a career night for the Tar Heels, tallying a personal-best 15 kills–while junior Madison Laufenberg also notched a career-high with eight kills.
Not to be outdone by her more experienced teammates, redshirt freshman Holly Carlton helped the offense work as well as it did by dishing out a whopping 51 assists.
LSU entered Sunday’s match–which was held at Carmichael Arena as part of the Carolina Classic event–having won their first eight contests of the season.
UNC dropped the first set to the Tigers, but Leath and the rest of the determined Tar Heels came from behind to take the second set–and then went on to finish the job.
“I think the second set might be one of the most important sets of the season for us,” Sagula said.” The fact that we stayed in it and came back to win, I think it gave us confidence.
“To be down 0-2 against a really good team would have been a really tough one to overcome,” the coach continued. “So I think we might look back and say that second set against LSU could be a turnaround for building the confidence in this team.”
UNC is scheduled to return to action on Sep. 15 with a match against Loyola Marymount.